AT LEAST 8.9 percent of the 106 million Filipino are affected with thyroid related diseases compared to only 5 to 6 million Filipinos affected by diabetes according to the Philippine Thyroid Association.

During the 13th Goiter Awareness Week forum in the city, Dr. Clarito Cairo Jr., program manager of the Thyroid Disorder Prevention and Control explained this was due to the deficiency of iodine resources in the different parts of the country.

“The Philippine Thyroid Disease study came out with its result which showed more cases of thyroid disorder than diabetes. This is now part of our program on disease, prevention and control bureau which will focus on prevention, diagnosis, treatment, management and care,” Cairo explained.

Goiter remains the top thyroid infection which is an abnormal enlargement of the thyroid gland. Thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland located at the base of the neck just below the Adam's apple. Although goiter are usually painless, a large goiter can cause a cough and make it difficult for one to swallow or breathe.

Dr. Teofilo San Luis Jr., national coordinator of the Iodine Global Network pointed out the need for people to understand the causes of goiter cases particularly during the yearly goiter awareness week forums.

“The Philippines still has a lot of goiter cases, and this goiter awareness forum seeks to disseminate the information using the latest technology and scientific studies for us to know what the causes of goiter are particularly on iodine deficiency and on what solutions to this problem which is all over the country should be done,” San Luis stated.

Other effects of thyroid diseases include hypothyroidism which is a condition in which the thyroid gland is not able to produce enough thyroid hormone. Since the main purpose of thyroid hormone is to "run the body's metabolism," it is understandable that people with this condition will have symptoms associated with a slow metabolism.

While hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid) occurs when your thyroid gland produces too much of the hormone thyroxine, it can accelerate the body's metabolism, causing unintentional weight loss and a rapid or irregular heartbeat.

San Luis said Baguio City and the Cordillera was chosen as venue for this year’s Goiter Awareness Week due to its success in lowering the number of cases in the past years.

“Baguio was chosen because we want to learn from the experiences of the Cordillera that used to be one of the most leading in terms of goiter prevalence. And with CAR’s record now, we would like to bring that success story into the consciousness of everyone,” San Luis added.